Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Tharsis Gameplay Review

I'm playing Tharsis, a turn-based survival strategy game by Choice Provisions.

The objective: get to Mars. The crew must scramble each turn to repair rooms and counteract ship damage and other negative events. Each room can provide different bonuses, from food production to ship repair and health increases. Each crew member has a class that determines their special ability, health, stress level (higher stress makes for worse decision choices), and dice supply (replenished with food). Dice are rolled in each repair event, used to simply repair the calamity, activate the crew member’s class ability or room module ability, or undertake research projects for instant benefits. Each repair mission can have hazards that will cause crew damage, locked dice, or lost dice if specific numbers are rolled; hazards can be automatically countered with assists. Tharsis excels in crisis prioritization: there are never enough crew to do everything, and placing the right combination of crew in the right rooms in the right order produces intriguing strategy. An interesting setting and compelling strategy makes Tharsis a distinctive, albeit very challenging, survival game.